The whale shark, the largest fish in the world, is seen year-round in Utilian waters, and the island is a hotspot for whale shark research. This small organization is focused on protecting these creatures and the coral reefs by collecting data with the help of divers and operators, educating the public, and hosting and participating in major studies. The good news for visitors to Utila is that they have a full line of courses and tours. Their 4-hour whale shark encounter and research trips include a short background lecture on whale shark ecology, the use of snorkel gear, and the possibility of seeing whale sharks up close in the water. They also offer PADI specialty courses such as AWARE fish ID, Coral Reef Conservation courses, and underwater photography. Volunteers are often needed to help with whale shark research and development of the program.